A pediatric nurse, sometimes called a certified pediatric nurse or CPN, is an RN (registered nurse) who has advanced training in the care of children. These nurses might have completed a master’s degree in pediatric nursing. A related discipline is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner (CPNC), where RNs complete a master’s or doctoral degree and have different responsibilities and rights than do nurses. There are a number of pediatric nurse jobs for CPNs or CPNCs, though according to studies, the majority of CPNs work in hospitals.
Pediatric nurse jobs in a hospital may mean nurses provide the majority of care that sick children need and could work in areas where children are gravely ill, such as the pediatric intensive care unit. They can also work on any children’s unit, providing care to kids as ordered by doctors or nurse practitioners. They observe patients, inform doctors of any changes, might collect blood or urine for lab work, and may administers shots or start intravenous lines. In this setting, pediatric nurses also spend time with families, educating them about health issues, supporting them during the difficult time that occurs when a child is hospitalized, and they directly support patients by evaluating pain level and advocating for the patient.
It should be noted that many CPNs seek further specialization, especially when they plan to work in hospitals or in outpatient clinics of pediatric specialists. They might have experience in pediatric cardiology, peds oncology, or pediatric neurology. Such nurses may most often only work with the types of patients in their area of specialty. This isn’t always a requirement for getting pediatric nurse jobs at hospitals, but the extra specialization may make people more attractive candidates for jobs. Sometimes this type of specialty is learned on the job instead of by pursing additional education.
Hospitals are not the only setting in which CPNs work. There are many pediatric nurse jobs in clinic settings and might be part of the staff of busy pediatrician or family practice offices. Here they will typically do first assessments of patients, might perform some education of parents, and could take blood or urine samples (sometimes) or perform well child testing like vision and hearing tests. Sadly sometimes, pediatric nurses are not greeted with enthusiasm by their young patients, since they typically must give immunization injections too.
Another place that some pediatric nurses are employed is at schools. Some may work as school nurses and do basic screening of kids for various diseases. They may also provide direct patient care if a child becomes ill or injured. However, many school nurses only spend a day or so a week at each school, particularly in large elementary school districts. They may not always be on hand to give health advice or assess kids.
Sometimes a pediatric nurse spends his or her time providing home care to ill or critically ill children. Specialists in pediatrics might oversee end of life or hospice care. Also some could work in the home of children recovering from a severe illness or who are chronically ill.
One area of work for many pediatric nurses is in education. There may be many pediatric nurse jobs in this area. Due to their advanced experience pediatric nurses may work at nursing schools teaching classes on pediatric nursing. Some nurses also teach fellow nurses about a variety of procedures or techniques, which allow those taught to provide better patient care and possibly pursue specialization in pediatrics too.
It’s important to talk about the related specialty to CPN, the CPNC. Like many CPNs, CPNCs have master’s degree studies and may have doctorates. Unlike the pediatric nurse, the pediatric nurse practitioner has a more supervisory role in the medical process. CPNCs may diagnose conditions, speak directly to parents regarding diagnosis and are typically able to prescribe medications and treatment. They may work in many of the places CPNs work, but their advanced role allows them to direct nursing care and order tests. More often, nurse practitioners might be thought of as part of the physician team, even though they come to this supervisory role from a nursing perspective.